Zulu Brothers story: Gugu

Gugu is pushy and Gugu never stops.
The first time she met Nqobizitha she thought he was educated.
He was, after all, sitting on business class of a Boeing-747 with her pestering him to choose between “shrimp or steak”, “red or dry white”.
It wasn’t the first time she'd seen him, but the first time she'd met him in person. But probably the first time he saw her.
He flew domestic regularly, sometimes in and out of provinces so most of her colleagues knew him.
They said he was nice but after that incident on the news about his girlfriend killing herself in their bedroom, just days after his whole family was almost shot dead, it kind of made them a little unsettled.
She was doing her last cabin with South African Airways when she saw him on a flight to Nairobi.
“Sir, would you like something drink?”she asked.
He looked up at her, looked around and back up at her.
It was only then that she realised he’d been asleep.
“Water? Wine?” she asked.
He didn’t speak, just a long stare with a frown on his face.
She was beginning to feel uncomfortable but rules of the job say “be composed” at all times.
He leaned back on the seat and closed his eyes, as if he believed she wasn't really there.
It was strange, but she figured it meant he wanted to be left alone and that she did.
Halfway through the flight she overheard a conversation between him and another flight attendant.
It was obviously the same “fish or chicken” “water or wine” situation.
He answered, in Zulu: “No. But I’d like to have a cigarette,”
“Unfortunately smoking is not allowed on the flight,” the attendant said, feisty and polite at the same time. It's an acquired skill.
“And if I smoke?”
“I will have you removed from the flight Sir,”
“Removed to where? The clouds?” he asked.
A part of her wanted to believe he was just joking, but it didn’t sound like it.
The man had, after all, gone through so much with his girlfriend dying and all.
When the flight landed he walked right past her, as if she was invisible.
She and every other flight attendant were used to rude passengers, so what she had just experienced was nothing compared to the bullshit they dealt with on a daily basis.
It was, after all, her last day on the job and she was going to be given a proper send off in Nairobi before going back to Johannesburg the next morning to officially hand in her uniform and stilettos.
She and the majority of her crew wanted to go to Mercury Lounge but Rato said no and led them to Club Tribeka, right in the middle of the Nairobi CBD where there were “real people”.
They danced the night away and as always, they were prim and proper when they welcomed business-class passengers to the Boeing the next morning.
She saw him again, he walked right past her and straight to his seat.
She had decided she wasn’t going to bother with him and so another attendant took over the “would you like something to drink” duty.
He asked for a magazine and newspaper.
She was attending to a passenger sitting two chairs behind him when he opened the newspaper, went straight to the classifieds section and literally did the cross-word puzzle in minutes.
“I said peanuts and iced water!” the passenger snapped at her.
She had been standing there, shocked yet fascinated by what she was watching two seats away.
She rushed out and came back with a tray, peanuts and iced water.
This time she noticed he had moved on to soduku and was almost done with it as well.
Had he been nice to her the day before she would have gone to him and asked how he did that but as she now knew, he was just like every other rich arsehole.
The last she’d ever have to deal with.
She was already done and looking forward to Monday as she strutted from International Departures to Domestic at the far end of OR Tambo International Airport to board the Kulula flight to Durban.
She needed to go home. It’s what she did every time something big happened in her life.
She went home when she was feeling down, when she had to make a big decision or when she needed strength.
She didn’t really have to tell her mother why she was home, just being there seemed to always give her a sense of direction.
It's where she belonged, where she was loved the most.
Her aunt never missed the opportunity to fuss over her every time she was home.
She was like a second mother to her. They were very close, which is why she still doesn't understand why she did what she did after her mother's funeral.
When she landed back in Joburg that Monday morning she went straight to her new offices in Kempton Park.
She was excited about the new challenge and more importantly the new title.

Try Africa PTY LTD
Marketing Executive: Ziphezinhle G. Myeza.

She beamed with pride as she read the writing on her office door.
She had made it. After all the mistakes, the crashing and falling and getting up again, she had made it in Joburg.
What was expected of her wasn't exactly something she wasn't familiar with.
The company had been the brainchild of her two former colleagues, and it was doing well.
They recruited her because of her personality and most probably her looks.
All she had to do was put the company's name out there and bring in new clients.
It wasn't that difficult. There was an always over-supply of Asians who could jump on a plane to Africa for something as small as seeing a picture of a monkey chasing a meerkat down the highway.
Africa is easy to sell. Paint a picture of a busy jungle with lions chilling on backyards and bare-breasted melanin covered maidens dancing for…I don’t know…just dancing. And when they land at the airport boom!!! They shall be met by elevators, sushi bars and bleached skin Nomathamsanqa with a bouncing weave looking and sounding whiter than Dolly Parton.
She loved her job. It also gave her access to people in high places.
It also took her to that hotel where she met the arsehole again.
She'd be lying if she said he was nice the second time around, but he did stare at her for a long time before he spoke.
She had to be nice. Her boss always insisted on them being nice when they were amongst such people.
But also, he seemed to want to get away from her, but still watched her from far.
After throwing back a couple of glasses of champagne she went straight to him and started a conversation.
He asked a lot of questions and she sang like a drunken little sparrow.
She even told him how she has to trim her eyebrows every week because naturally they join in the middle.
He froze when she said that.
Up until today she still doesn't understand how the conversation got there.
All she knows is, she went home with him that night.
It was the beginning of a very complicated life.
At first it was a casual thing. He would call and they would meet for dinners after which they always ended up in bed together.
The sex was fire, but there were no emotions attached to it. It was just sex, rough and kind of fetish sex, nothing more.
He was also more interested in her history than she was in his.
But the one thing he did without reservations was throw money at her.
He invited her to come with him on a few business trips and each time he would hand her a credit card to do as she pleased with it.
She decided to be patient with him, particularly because she thought he was still grieving for the girlfriend who killed herself, whom by the way he never mentioned to her, not even once.
There were so many things she found strange about him, including the fact that sometimes he behaved like he had known her all his life.
Like they had a past that they shared.
He spoke about things from when he was younger and expected her to remember them, as if she was there when they happened.
By that time she knew all about his family, but she had never met them in person.
The first brother she met was Ntsika.
He found her in the house, alone and he was awkward around her.
She figured that maybe he was shocked by the fact that it had barely been three months after the girlfriend died and already there was her in the picture.
Judging by Nqobizitha’s reaction when he came back to find him there, he didn’t know he was coming over.
Eventually she met all of them, and they all this habit of tip-toeing around her, as if she was some fascinating creature.
She moved in on the fourth month, and that was when things turned for the worst.
Rato told her it was a big mistake, she advised him to keep her flat.
But Gugu is that type of person, she smiles all the way to bad decisions.
It was clear to her that Nqobizitha didn't love her much, but it was confusing that he didn't want to let her go.
There were times when he'd be so cold that she'd pack and leave fully believing that it was the last time they'd see each other.
But he'd knock on her door, sometimes in the wee hours of the morning. Not to apologise no, just to be there and she'd end up going back to Winchester Hills.
Throwing him a birthday party was another idea nobody supported.
But she was ready to go there. She was going to force him into a relationship, “by fire by force”.
And besides, it had become more than just wanting to be with him.
So many perks and benefits came with being Nqoba's girlfriend.
He was highly connected. He could make things happen, even for the company she worked for.
There were clients they found themselves signing big contracts with without making much effort to market themselves.
There was the status thing too. It was a great family to be part of.
She didn't understand why other people seemed to fear them.
The marriage proposal was a complete shock.
It was a Friday and she was going to Ulundi to visit her family.
As he dropped her off at the airport, he said: “Usho kini ukuthi ngiyeza ngizolobola ngomhlaka 16”(Tell your family that I'm coming to pay lobola on the 16th).
She laughed.
He didn't.
She didn't tell her family, not until an old man called Ngcobo asked her if it was her uncles who'd accept lobola.
The process was quick.
Her wedding cost an arm and a leg.
But there was no honeymoon phase. There was no happiness and there was still no love there.
She wasn't going to give up though and she knew exactly what it was that she needed to guarantee her stay there.
She drank every fertility pill and concoction there was.
It worked.
The day she broke the news to him was the day she thought he'd kill her. He went beserk.
She understood because she knew where she stood with him, which was nowhere, according to her.
Nqobizitha cried when he was alone that night.
He cried because didn't mean to behave the way he did, it just happened. He didn't mean to hurt her like that.
It happened because at that moment he heard the news everything changed.
Gugu had crossed over, she had moved a step forward.
She had gone where Nqobile didn't get to go with him, which was past the marriage and into parenthood.
She had moved forward.
She was no longer Nqobile, she was Gugu now.